During my recent travels, I met with a leading angel investor and we talked about the amazing roll that the technology sector is on right now. Consider the incredible amounts of investment flowing into companies like Facebook, Jive, LinkedIn, Instagram, Yammer, Box and DropBox. Or spend a few days at events like DEMO (our Silicon Valley-based conference for emerging technologies), and you’ll see why investors are so enthusiastically drawn to the technology startup community.
I asked my investor friend what he considers the “special sauce” that convinces him to buy into a technology startup. He replied with five simple words: social, mobile, geolocation, gaming and commerce (meaning both the online and mobile varieties). If a company does three of these things in concert, it gets his attention. Four of them and he’s seriously interested. Five and it’s guaranteed his checkbook will be open.
What is so fascinating about venture capitalists is that they always seem to be ahead of the market. How do they catch those waves so early? How do they know a certain company will be a hit while others will fizzle? My friend said it’s not necessarily about the company or its leadership team, but about the trends themselves. In today’s market, the business trends of tomorrow are being created by what’s happening now in the social and consumer ecosystems.
So tell me, how much attention is your IT organization paying to these five key trends? We know from our coverage in CIO that mobile, social and IT consumerization are high on your radar. Have you already moved all new development to a mobile-first environment? Are you approaching business peers about building customer tools that take advantage of “SoLoMo?” That’s the buzzword coined earlier this year–a combination of “social,” “local” and “mobile”–to describe the social-media savvy, mobile-centric version of hyperlocal search (think Groupon, Yelp and Foursquare). Are you creating data mash-ups that help predict customer behavior or drive real-time pricing strategies?
These are the kinds of questions IT leaders should be thinking through now and ready to answer soon. The speed of change seems to increase by the month, and you can follow the venture capitalist money to watch our future unfolding.
What are you doing to keep up? Write in and let me know.
Michael Friedenberg is the president and CEO of CIO magazine’s parent company, IDG Enterprise. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.